But before I get into that—let it be written that Bellingham, Washington had a week of sunshine in March and over Easter. I do not think that combination has ever occurred in the history of mankind, and I doubt it ever will again, so may the memory of its glory be preserved.
* * *
Easter was like a giant wall on my calendar—I hadn't looked beyond it during Lent. Here in the afterwards, I'm thus far still recovering from Holy Week. The celebrations included late nights, extra practice, expected stress, some very unexpected stress, and a bigger than usual mixed bag of distractions and emotions. But then, the Triduum is centered around joy and suffering blended together in the death and resurrection of Christ, and my own experiences of it have often echoed that, especially in the year of my confirmation. This year was certainly that way.
There was often joy in the music. The quintet I sing with got asked to handle Good Friday, and that little group has something that feels—to me—quietly momentous. Journal excerpt:
The intimate way we all crowded around the area microphone—RD just behind me, C close at my side, Lou and RL flanking them, everyone distanced for balance's sake with my unassuming voice just inches from the mic, all of us pressed together so that we could hardly help but breathe together and sing as "though many, seeming one". Polyphony—Palestrina's "O Bone Jesu" and Lotti's "Miserere"—all of us listening closely to each other, breathing carefully, tuning carefully, blending carefully. Hymnals all below and behind and around mine. Four parts on "O Sacred Head Surrounded" and "Were You There". D supporting us, coaching us and playing organ and piano.
Someone said afterward that that was the best music we'd ever had.The night of Easter vigil was clear and warm and only just dark as we stood round the bonfire, and for once I managed to process inside without my candle ever blowing out. And indoors at the ambo, above the forest of candlelit faces, Lou stood and sang the Exsultet—it's something like ten minutes of chanting, unaccompanied, amid a reverential hush—and for a few moments I forgot about distracting dramas and just listened to that strong, warm baritone sing the words:
Exult, let them exult, the hosts of heaven, exult, let angel ministers of God exult, let the trumpet of salvation sound aloud our mighty King’s triumph!
Be glad, let earth be glad, as glory floods her, ablaze with light from her eternal King, let all corners of the earth be glad, knowing an end to gloom and darkness.
Rejoice, let Mother Church also rejoice, arrayed with the lightning of his glory, let this holy building shake with joy, filled with the mighty voices of the peoples...
This is the night, when Christ broke the prison-bars of death and rose victorious from the underworld....
This is the night of which it is written: The night shall be as bright as day...* * *
Music of the week: The Exsultet sung in Latin, at St. Peter's.
* * *
The house needs cleaning now, and my books need writing, so off I go. But first, your cat picture. As you see, Maia insists upon sitting on my lap when I'm playing the piano—which is fine, when she doesn't also insist on chasing her tail.
Happy remainder of the Easter octave!